What Happens When You Accuse Someone Of Attempting Date Rape In Guild Wars 2

Just because it's a video game doesn't mean scenes won't play out like they do in real life. In a post over at Keep It Up, a curious role-playing scenario from Guild Wars 2 is detailed: one where a character named Sylvia saw a human male giving a single drink to a female character — only to have the female character pass out.

Outside the game, the person controlling Sylvia knew what had happened: the 'unconscious woman' was really just a player that had to excuse herself from the RP (role-playing) because of something in real-life.

In-game, however, the woman chose to use the "sleep" command at a tavern — which makes it look like the player falls in the floor in a heap. Which is to say, in-game, the 'dubious scene' presented a weird but interesting opportunity for role-play.

She wrote:

I saw it as a great opportunity to pursue some roleplay. My character, who was already standing near the exit, questioned him on his way out about the woman over his shoulder. She wasn't even aggressive about it then, it was casual. Mild.

His mutterings were nervous and dubious at best. He spoke about how he had "papers" to allow for such a thing, and he just had to get her back to his place.

Needless to say, things took a turn for the uncomfortable: they were playing out a scene involving a guy attempting date rape!

Things escalated from there. Sylvia tried to get the man to leave the woman alone or to at least get the woman to some healers; the woman needed help. She tried to call the local guards. No dice, nobody cared. The man became more agitated at all the 'libelous' and insulting implications of what he was doing.

Even worse than having most people not care was that Sylvia then came under fire for being a loudmouthed nuisance that was "making a fuss" about "nothing."

People were more concerned over the reputation of the guy than they were of the well-being of the woman, basically.

I had initiated RP with the other player for the sake of fun, but I had increasingly become more and more unnerved by the turn. It's only a game and it's fantasy and roleplay and silliness, of course. The other players undoubtedly took cues from the out of character nature of things. It's not, after all, as if anyone could force another player to RP out something they don't wish.

However through the time spent playing this scene out, the manner in which it mirrored real life behaviour that I've either seen or read about in such detail was unpleasant, to say the least. Not only in the casual disregard for the unconscious woman's well-being from an IC perspective, but OOC the things that were said were so jarringly similar to the sexist and harmful things you hear in real life.

You can read the full post here, which has more details in regards to what happened — but still, pretty crazy, right? Nobody forced folks to play along, much less in this specific way that mirrored real-life rape culture — doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy, failing to help the woman in danger and so on. But they did.

J. Keep, the author of the post, recognises that the way the role-play turned out isn't indicative of real-world sexism of the players. That, in a way, isn't really the point.

"It's noteworthy because of how unnervingly true to life it was," she explained.

Games Imitating Life: Rape Culture in MMORPGs? [Keep It Up]


Comments

    but still, pretty crazy, right?

    That's pretty much what i thought whilst reading this; with reference to what part of the article, you may take you pick.

      Put the bong down, Patricia.

        oh look a whole bunch of dudes who dont like patricia's articles. surprise.

          No, just a whole bunch of people who can read, is all.

          Last edited 19/02/13 1:55 pm

          Please, ibbers, explain to me what the issue is, and why it needs to be discussed.

            Actually, I just figured out the issue: It's that authors are apparently allowed to make sweeping generalisations about players of a certain game being ok with, or not being concerned with rape, or people being raped; and that they embrace "rape culture".

              Ok, this was in a video game that doesn't allow a player to date rape another.

              In all honesty do you think it is ok in any forum to accuse someone of rape when that has not occured.

    So, am I supposed to criticise the woman's poor choice in humour by making light of date rape by levelling such accusations in a game where such things aren't possible, or villainise the people who failed to intervene to prevent the nothing that was happening.

    Plz halp, I m confus.

    So a real life person (via her ingame character) was concerned about an ingame woman because potentially date raped by another ingame character.

    Does this not sound unbelievably stupid to anyone else?
    They are characters being played by REAL PEOPLE. Those real people could just zone out, or log off, or a myriad of other things to stop this.

    Ugh....people...amirite?

      Not quite. Maybe, in the context of it being a game and sexual activities not being a function of the game. But in the context of the RP, Patricia/J Keep are talking about the attitude surrounding the event mirroring real life. And they're right. It's shitty. Hey, they're the ones who wanted to RP and who get toey when people drop OOC and yet, when one player still in character got concered (entirely in character), it was they who dropped back to shitty RL attitudes and lambasted her.

        I mean, yeah, she instigated this, despite everyone knowing the real context of what was happening (being AFK for example), and yeah, RPers got shitty with her for bringing the subject up, but this is what gives me the shits about ROers: I don't believe you can be half in. You're going to RP, don't pick and choose what you're RPing about. I dunno, maybe it's because RPers give me the shits, especially in STO-- don't even get me started; But Patricia, though stretching somewhat, is kinda right about it mirroring RL attitudes towards the subject...

        So people are shitty because they refuse to acknowledge an accusation of rape that has no grounds and can't possibly happen due to the physical limitations of the game? We're all doomed then, doomed to be shitty, shitty people.

        It is not mirroring anything. In the game rape CAN NOT happen. In real life rape CAN happen. I would assume most peoples responses would be influenced by this major distinction even if they are role-playing.

          I agree. That's my point, it can't happen in game. But these guys were role playing. It seems like more of a beef against role playing and RPers getting shitty that she decided to stir the pot and overreact to an event that simply can't take place in the game-- fair call, might I add. And suggesting it's got something to do with the game or gamer culture requires a mighty big suspension of belief, especially when J Keep took the RP down that storyline path. Yeah... the more I read J Keep's article, the more I realise you guys are right. It's an overreaction or the article's an overreach at least. If this had been happening during a non electronic RPG (ie, D&D, SFB, etc), you'd have a moderator either steering you away from this, or saying "fuck you, deal with it and going OOC is a forfeit". In a game, you don't have that structure, there is no moderator and no compulsion to follow a particular story path. You don't want to follow something whilst RP, why should you? It's your choice to be involved and to choose your level of involvement. This seems like a grievance because someone decided to take the story down an improbable path (due to game limitations), pissed off the other players, then got pissy because no one bought into the attention seeking by joining her.

            Brothers! He has seen the light-tah!

              I realised I'd agreed with her, but I wasn't suffering a severe head injury. It didn't add up. I checked, and apparently hell hadn't frozen over either, so I reread it and saw what I'd missed... :p

    Classic Patricia article. "BELIEVE ME, DESPITE ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, THERE IS A HUMANITARIAN ISSUE HERE THAT YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT."

      This.
      I couldn't have put it better myself!

      I know right... I was reading the article.. got 3/4 of the way through.. wondering where it is going.. and then, and only then, do I take a peak at the author and realise I don't need to bother reading further.. It was interesting at the start but then just became confusing and pointless by the end.

      Just needs to lay off the koolaid..

    I'm not a roleplayer myself, but from what I know of the culture, that sort of spontaneous, force your character into others roleplay is generally frowned upon, as is roleplay of sexual nature. I assume most people would have thought she was a troll trying to make fun of roleplayers and they were trying to get her to stop without breaking character. I know in WoW, people making alts on RP realms so they can run up and harass RPers with sexual content is pretty common and is much complained about by many serious RPers.

    I too would be more concerned with the actuality of libel over the impossibility of the rape.

      The only actual assault to be found in this article is the one on our intelligence.

    Patricia: these articles - your articles - they have to stop.

      Agreed.

      I wonder if she's related to Jesus Diaz?

      They post a lot of rubbish articles.

    The other day I was playing a game where I shot a guy in the head. It was glorious. Bits of head flew in all directions. And did anyone call the police? Did the computer world where I horribly killed someone become a crime scene? Nope. Guess what. No one cared. In fact I got praised for it. Weird how people act differently in a computer game to how they act in reality. I don't understand why.

      Same thing for me on Sunday. We all started new characters on Borderlands 2, after a long range fire fight with four of us using Sniper Rifles, I found it quite funny we where reloading in unison.

        *whoooosh* right over your head

        Last edited 20/02/13 11:02 am

    in the immortal words of ralph pootawn "no"

    Nobody forced folks to play along, much less in this specific way that mirrored real-life rape culture — doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy, failing to help the woman in danger and so on.

    When these things happen in real life they are terrible. In this situation however, they are 100% justified. Not sort of justified, not mostly justified, 100% justified. A person accusing someone of date rape when they absolutely have not drugged a person due to it being completely impossible should, every single time, result in others doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy and failing to 'help' the woman 'in danger'.

    This entire thing strikes me as an 'It was a social experiment!' type thing where someone does something stupid - like trivialising date rape to be clever - realises nobody else was going to play along and then decides it proved an interesting insight into human nature.

      The last paragraph Limimi, bang on!

      Though, personally, I think the "interesting insight into human nature" part would be motivated by sour grapes because no one played along.

      Considering the woman in question wasn't actually drugged she wasn't really in danger, which kind of invalidates the entire RP to begin with.

    Wow it's like I'm really on tumblr!

    Jesus Christ, this is so retarded. It acts as a shining beacon of what is wrong with some people, and I'm not talking about the people who "ignored a rape and didn't intervene".

    Things escalated from there. Sylvia tried to get the man to leave the woman alone or to at least get the woman to some healers; the woman needed help. She tried to call the local guards. No dice, nobody cared. The man became more agitated at all the ‘libelous’ and insulting implications of what he was doing.

    Even worse than having most people not care was that Sylvia then came under fire for being a loudmouthed nuisance that was “making a fuss” about “nothing.”

    People were more concerned over the reputation of the guy than they were of the well-being of the woman, basically.
    You wanna know why people nobody gave a shit, Patricia? Because nobody was getting raped, and Sylvia being a loudmouthed nuisance that was making a fuss about nothing.

    Having said that, if that guy was actually roleplaying date rape, well that's a little bit fucked up.

    This is ridiculous.

    People role play rape situations, in private, in real life all the time.

    Why would it be wrong to role play this in a game? In real life a role play like this could escalate to situation where one of the parties felt uncomfortable and it could consitute real rape. However in a game where rape is not possible then this becomes a moot point.

    This article should not exist, it attempts to promote a discussion that just not need to exist. Sometimes I think Patricia raises valid points and attempts to address real issues in the culture of gaming. However articles like these just reduce her credibility, she needs to be a little more critical about what she chooses to publish.

      This article should not exist, it attempts to promote a discussion that just not need to exist.

      This is the very essence of Patricia Hernandez.

    Has no-one ever heard of crying wolf? When people - quite rightly - dismiss concerns about things which are stupid shit that is not real, they get themselves in the habit of ignoring anything REAL that might sound similar.

    Stop damaging discussion of REAL issues by blowing up fake ones. Look up 'Compassion Fatigue' on wikipedia.

    limimi has articulated my thoughts about this perfectly.

    Last edited 19/02/13 1:29 pm

    Why do Patricia's articles upset people so much? I didn't find this article that fascinating either but it didn't have me chomping at the bit.

    It occurs to me this is going to be one hot topic, even if all of us are just sitting here complaining it's a BS topic.

    NNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDDDDDD!

      It's past your bedtime.

      Last edited 19/02/13 6:08 pm

    One simple question: "Hey dude, do you want to roleplay this?" It's the difference between exploring an interesting situation through a social medium, and deliberately picking a particularly offensive fight with a random stranger.

    The irony of the original article's author overlooking the importance of consent should not be lost on anyone.

    People should read the comments on the actual post as they offer more illumination as to the original purpose of the post and also point out that Patricia has made it out to be something it is not.
    eg.
    Contrary to the Kotaku article on this post, I did not in fact accuse anyone of rape IC, nor did parallels between what happened and typical “date rape” scenarios occur to me until the thing was nearly ended.

    Patricia, I was kind of on the fence and giving you the benefit of the doubt about most of your 'sexism' articles. But this is just the tipping point. Zero respect for you now.

    Last edited 19/02/13 9:08 pm

    an authors comment on the original article
    "Based on your questions and concerns I assume you came here from the misleading and factually incorrect Kotaku piece (or one of the sites that has picked up on that)."

    If this article gets to be posted.....
    I want to write an article about how no one believed me in WoW when I told them that by killing boars for xp it was animal cruelty and mirrored real life hunting.

    This article is blatantly unprofessional, at best it is preaching to the choir which is a great shame. It is worrying to see poorly justified articles on sexism as I fear gaming audiences become more dismissive of the topic with each one.

    At no point is it acknowledged that the source material is anecdotal and thus unverifiable and subject to bias. Hernandez instead accepts the account as is, going even further to concoct her own framing of 'date-rape' to flavor the story with. She even deems it necessary to smear the entire Guild Wars community with this in her title. This is shameless click-grabbing, it belittles the issue at hand and is an insult to the audience.

    The original material at 'keep it up' provides little substance in the way of framing the context of other players reactions. Whether they were dismissive due to indifference towards the events supposedly taking place, or because they did not wish to participate in Sylvia's role play to begin with is not addressed. Hernandez fails to recognize this glaring inconsistency. While I don't doubt the source materials author, I have been given no reason to believe their interpretation of the event any more than I'd believe someone blaming lag for their deaths while playing online.

    Issues such as sexism should be addressed with seriousness. For this, we need more access to the event in question. To publish an article grounded on baseless assumptions, in reference to a brief anecdote is irresponsible. It breeds complacency within the audiences of gaming journalism and distracts from the issues we are trying to reconcile with. I understand that its tough to record something you weren't anticipating, but even if Sylvia's player had taken a screenshot of the chat-log it might have saved this piece from coming across as a juvenile witch hunt. Without that, Hernandez should have acknowledged the huge bias of interpretation at play and omitted her own gratuitous generalizations in order to grant the article some legitimacy.

    So she couldn't role play about narcolepsy?

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